Grocery bill got you like “whoa?”
Ultimate stare down in the fridge leaving you less than motivated?
Then you might need to suck it up and learn the tricks of meal planning.
We all want to eat the food. But the planning and prepping stuff is for the birds.
Top Tips to Meal Prepping
1. Make a Schedule.
Start each week by figuring out when you’ll plan your meals, grocery shop, and prep the food. Some people prefer to do it all in a day while others do it on separate occasions. Find what works best for you – write it down – and stick to it. I personally do my meal planning and shopping on Saturday’s with meal prep on Sunday’s to get ready for the week. I usually have 2 grocery stops for the week. The first is the big haul with the majority of foods we’ll need for all our meals. The second is to re-stock on fresh fruits as those are the items that my kids go through the quickest.
2. Have Theme Nights.
Taco Tuesday anyone??? Using themes can help relieve a bit of stress and eliminate a lot of overthinking. Themes we love in our house include burger night, stir fry, pizza night, Taco Tuesday, and the infamous BFD (breakfast for dinner). To keep it simple, I switch up the meats from week to week. Anything from chicken, steak, turkey, and even fish. This makes planning, prepping, and shopping a lot easier and budget friendly.
3. Enlist the family for help.
After the plans are set it’s time to call in the troops. Have kids in your house that are 2.5 years and older? Enlist them for help. Inviting your kids to be a part of the meal prepping process opens many doors for their little minds. They can learn about food groups, portions, healthy snacks, even counting practice. Kids are great little helpers in the kitchen.
When we meal prep, we turn on some music, get into a groove, and set to work. My oldest can chop veggies using a kid-aooved cutting knife and does a great job with the cucumbers, peppers, and even trimming the ends of strawberries. He’s also great at making zoodles (zucchini noodles), peeling hard boiled eggs, and portioning out food into the meal prep containers. My 3 year old is great with washing and portioning fruit, nuts, and pre-cut veggies.
4. Invest in Containers.
Now that the food is done you’ll want to package it up and have it ready to grab and go! Amazon Prime you are my BFF. Just type meal prep containers into the search engine on Amazon and you’ll get these amazing containers in a set of 10. They’re super durable, don’t leak, and dishwasher safe. They stack really nice in the fridge and help take the guess work out of lunches for the week.
5. Cook in bulk.
Meal prep in under an hour? Say what? If you do it right you won’t be a slave in the kitchen. I meal prep on Sunday’s when I’m cooking Sunday dinner. Since the oven and grill are already fired up, I do everything all at once. I throw a few extra chicken breasts on the grill, sweet potatoes in the oven, and make huge baking sheets of roasted veggies and diced sweet potatoes. It’s only a few extra minutes to lay everything out on the trays, and the kids can help portion the food out when it’s finished.
6. Bust out the crock pot.
This one NEVER fails. Not to toot my own horn, but I don’t think I’ve ever made a bad meal in the crock pot. I mean you just throw a whole bunch of delicious sounding ingredients, set it on HIGH, say a quick prayer, and walk away. In all seriousness, the crock pot is a time and money saver and you can squeak out a few meals for the week if you make a large enough portion. I use the crock pot when our schedules are hectic or when I’m out of town to help my husband with dinners for the family.